Rich has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State. WE ARE!!!
2022 NFL Power Index Week 1
It’s finally here. Football is back. The NFL kicked off last week and Sunday marked the first full slate of games since early January. It’s great to have it back and, on a personal note, it’s great to be back writing again. It was a chaotic weekend with upsets galore so I won’t waste any more time and I’ll just dive right in.
*Note ~ I'm going to try and stick with the "Power Index" title as half the time "Power Rankings" has already been taken.
1. Buffalo Bills (1-0) ~ Ric Flair once said if you want to be the best you've got to beat the best. That's what the Bills did when they opened the season Thursday night in L.A. against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Josh Allen had over 300 total yards and four touchdowns. The defense sacked Matthew Stafford seven times and picked off three passes. It was a beatdown no matter how you look at it. The Bills opened the season as the betting Super Bowl favorites and they backed it up in a big way.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) ~ Tyreek Hill may be gone, but as long as number 15 is under center the Chiefs offense should be just fine. Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdowns on the road in Arizona and the Chiefs cruised to an opening week victory. The Bills and Chiefs gave us one of the most thrilling playoff games of all-time last season. Could they meet in this year’s AFC Championship Game?
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) ~ Tom Brady did Tom Brady things in a season in which we initially thought we wouldn’t see number 12. It may seem like an eternity ago that Brady told us all he was retiring. That lasted for a month before he decided to suit up again in his age 45 season. That gives him yet another NFL record as he is the oldest quarterback to start a game in NFL history.
4. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) ~ I already mentioned how the Rams were throttled at home, but, maybe I can blame it a little on a Super Bowl hangover. At least the Rams got some good news Sunday when they saw division rivals San Francisco and Arizona both lose.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) ~ The “other” L.A. team did pick up a home win against their divisional rival Las Vegas Raiders in a rematch of last year’s season finale. The Raiders, of course, won that game and advanced to the playoffs while the Chargers were left wanting. I guess you could say the Chargers got their revenge? I’m not sure, but, what really intrigues me about this game is that it was, in fact, a home game. The Rams, who share Sofi Stadium with the Chargers, also played at home this week. How often does that happen where two teams who share the same stadium both play at home in the same week?
6. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) ~ Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns and the Ravens beat up on their old teammate Joe Flacco while picking up an easy win against the New York Jets. Jackson, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is taking the Aaron Judge route and betting on himself this year. I'm not saying Lamar will lead the league in home runs, but I'm not not saying that. He’s my preseason MVP pick.
7. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) ~ Yes, maybe this is a bit too high, but, I simply cannot discount that beatdown of Green Bay. Justin Jefferson might be the best receiver in the league and he backed that up with 184 yards and two scores. They have an above average run game with Dalvin Cook. If this defense is for real the Vikings could be a serious threat to win the NFC North.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) ~ Joe Burrow had five turnovers. FIVE. Yet he still had his team in position to win the game. The extra point attempt was blocked which sent the game to overtime. Burrow again drove his team down the field only to sit on the sidelines and watch Evan McPherson miss a 29-yarder which is essentially another extra point. Yes, they lost, but seemingly everything that could have gone wrong did and the Bengals still had a legit chance to come away with the win.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) ~ A.J. Brown had 10 catches for 155 yards in his Eagles debut. Nobody has ever had more yards in their first game as an Eagle. James Bradberry had the first pick six of his career in his first game as an Eagle. Miles Sanders scored his first touchdown in more than a year and three other Eagles runners found the end zone. The offense looked good in Detroit. The defense? Aside from the pick six, it left a little to be desired.
10. Green Bay Packers (0-1) ~ Remember last season when the Packers were blown out in the season opener? They still went on to win the division and this is still a good team. They’re simply adjusting to life without Davante Adams and were missing two of their starting offensive linemen. I trust Aaron Rodgers to right the ship.
11. Miami Dolphins (1-0) ~ New head coach, and former Denver Broncos ball boy, Mike McDaniel continued a Miami tradition in beating the New England Patriots in Miami. It seems like this is an automatic win year in year out regardless of the teams, coaches or whatever else should matter any given Sunday.
12. New Orleans Saints (1-0) ~ Michael Thomas scored twice in his return to the lineup and Chris Olave looked pretty good in his NFL debut. The first round pick had three catches for 41 yards and he caught a two-point conversion in the Saints comeback victory. This offense used to be full of stud receivers and it has that feel again with two former Ohio State Buckeyes leading the way.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) ~ Derek Carr and Davante Adams were college teammates at Fresno State. Now they are teammates in the pros. Adams was targeted on 17 of Carr’s 35 throws. While that is unsustainable, there shouldn’t be any concern over Adams going from Aaron Rodgers at quarterback to Carr. These two are going to be just fine.
14. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) ~ They played in monsoon-like conditions, so could we forgive the 49ers for losing in Chicago? Maybe you can but I can’t. San Fran was a quarter away from going to the Super Bowl last season. Chicago might be the worst team in the league. Both of them had to play in those poor conditions. This was a bad loss no matter how you look at it.
15. Cleveland Browns (1-0) ~ The Baker Bowl trophy goes to the Cleveland Browns who pulled out a last second win in Carolina thanks to rookie Cade York’s 58-yard game-winner. It’s the first Week 1 win for the Browns since 2004. That is not a typo. There are children who were born and have graduated high school without ever seeing the Browns win their season opener. Until now.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) ~ Speaking of 2004, that is the year that Ben Roethlisberger became a Pittsburgh Steeler. This is the first season since then that there was a question mark about who would be under center for Pittsburgh to start the year. Mitch Trubisky is the answer to that trivia question and he played fine. Nothing flashy. The bigger question in Pittsburgh is whether they will be without reigning Defensive Player of the Year T. J. Watt who is believed to have torn his pectoral muscle late in Sunday’s win.
17. Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1) ~ I hate the Colts for making me have to pay attention to ties to start off the season. The fact that they lost to Jacksonville to keep them out of the playoffs in last year’s finale, and then couldn’t even beat Houston to start this season makes me really question whether the Colts can be talked about as a serious contender.
18. Denver Broncos (0-1) ~ Russell Wilson’s Broncos debut did not go as planned. The fact that it was IN Seattle was about as fairy tale as it could be, but Denver turned it over twice inside the red zone and missed a long field goal at the end of the game to seal their fate. I did turn the game on for a bit at the beginning and the boos in that stadium were as loud as I can remember hearing for any player. I thought they might cheer the best quarterback to ever play for the franchise, but, what the hell do I know?
19. Tennessee Titans (0-1) ~ I blame myself. I picked the Titans to win in my last man standing pool. Now I’m out in the first week. That isn’t to say the Titans didn’t have their chances. They had every opportunity to put away the New York Giants and they continued to come up short. The one I would question the most is when, on third and one, they did a jet sweep with a tight end while Derrick Henry was in the backfield. Maybe Henry gets stuffed, but isn’t that a risk worth taking?
20. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) ~ We are just one game into the season and I feel like Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat. This is a team that has hopes and expectations beyond the regular season. The Chiefs are a tested playoff team and made Arizona look like a high school squad. That has to come down on the coaching staff just as much as on the players.
21. New England Patriots (0-1) ~ I’ve learned over the years never to bet against Bill Belichick. That said, if Mac Jones is forced to miss some time to a back injury I might think about betting against Bill Belichick. I mean, unless you are a Pats fan can you name their backup quarterback? It’s Brian Hoyer in case you were wondering.
22. Washington Commanders (1-0) ~ Carson Wentz threw two horrible interceptions which is just what you come to expect from him. He also overcame those by throwing two more touchdowns, bringing his total to four on the day, helping lead his team to victory. But enough about the game. The real story is that this franchise is such a joke that they were selling coffee mugs with their logo over the state of Washington. They play in Maryland. Yikes.
23. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) ~ Can you name the only team to not score a touchdown during opening week in the NFL? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the one you are reading about right now.
24. New York Giants (1-0) ~ Here’s a picture of new Head Coach Brian Daboll making that call to go for two, instead of the tie, with a minute left in the game.
25. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) ~ Seattle got the win, which was mentioned earlier in the Denver blurb, but I want to focus on what quarterback Geno Smith said after the game. When asked about those who wrote him off, Smith replied “They wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.” Mic drop.
26. Chicago Bears (1-0) ~ The monsoon game did give us a few lasting images as well as this perfect slip-n-slide impression from Justin Fields. Can you do an impression of a slip-n-slide? It sounds funny, but, that’s what I’m going with.
27. Detroit Lions (0-1) ~ The darlings of this year’s Hard Knocks, the Lions certainly put a scare into me and the rest of the Eagles fan base Sunday afternoon. This is a team on the verge of a breakout. Whether this is the year they take that step forward remains to be seen, but I won’t be surprised if it is.
28. Carolina Panthers (0-1) ~ Christian McCaffrey had just 10 carries and four targets (all catches) in Sunday’s loss. How one of the best players in the game, and certainly the best offensive weapon on the team, is so lightly involved in the game plan is beyond me. He will need to be a focal point moving forward. For Carolina’s, and my fantasy team’s sake.
29. Houston Texans (0-0-1) ~ For the first time in franchise history, the Texans have a tie. That is all.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) ~ Doug Pederson nearly got the better of his former quarterback, but the Jags came up just short in their matchup against the Washington Wentz’s. Many people are of the mindset that the Jags can be this year’s Bengals. While I don’t see that sort of supersonic leap in them, I do believe they can win more games this season than they have in the previous two seasons combined when they went a cumulative 4-29.
31. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) ~ Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Atlanta Falcons blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead. This is the third time in the last three seasons in which they have blown such a lead. At this point, the fans must be scared to have a large lead late in a game. Must be miserable.
32. New York Jets (0-1) ~ Leading up to the opener it appeared that rookie Breece Hall would be the lead back. That was not the case Sunday as second year man Michael Carter paced the team with 10 carries and seven catches. Maybe that changes moving forward, but you should check and see if Carter is available on the waiver wire in your fantasy league. I mean now. Go. You’ve made it to the end of this anyway.
And that is that. That's all I've got this week. You're now free to go about the rest of your day. Or night. Whatever it may be. If you want more of me, leave a comment below or follow me on social media via the link in my bio.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Rich